I just finished the fifth day of round four of letrozole. I’ve also been taking the full dosage of the herbal supplement that my acupuncturist has given me. The combination of the two is making me feel pretty lousy. I’m just generally sore, like joint sore through my shoulders hips and knees. Also I am noticing some attention deficits – like i’m not as able to attend to what is going on around me as I usually can. I have to work harder when i’m doing basic things like driving.
I have considered whether it’s all in my head – as in its some sort of symptoms of depression. But I don’t think it is. Although i’ve had some shitty days, for the most part my mood has levelled out and I don’t think that is playing a factor in the overall physical soreness.
I m feeling crazy burnt out. I feel like the fertility stuff – the need to time medications, and sex, and the fact that it is sitting and dominating every action I take – is taking up 75% of my energy, and I somehow need to find room for school, work, exercise, my Husband, an social life, in the other 25% of whatever energy a limited sleep schedule allows. Work in particular is stressful – I’m still building practice at the second clinic. It is growing, just a lot slower than I would have wished. I think in the long run it will work out, but it will take another several months to get it close to where I need it to be. In the meantime I just have to be very careful about our household budget, because I took a financial hit when I quit my full time but shitty job last year to try to build something better. The first clinic is about as busy as I want it to be, i’m there 15-25 hours a week, which leaves me with the time I need to build the second one.
It will be fine, the soreness will pass, it will get better, I will have time…
My mantra gets longer and more detailed…
Tomorrow I start round four of Letrozole. No huge surprise that round three didn’t end up working out, I was quite sure a few days before my period arrived that it was en route. On the plus side, my own body awareness has gotten pretty amazing.
In addition to the Letrozole, I have also started acupuncture and am taking the herbs that the traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturist suggested. I struggle a bit with the science behind the acupuncture and meridian/water/fire/balance conversations around it, but there is research backing up the use of acupuncture in conception, so I figure it’s worth a try.
Next Tuesday we go back to the fertility doctor. I suspect that we will go through a round of IUI sooner rather than later. I kinda wish it would just happen, before the procedures get exponentially more invasive.
I don’t have any updates regarding my little sister – she has a tendency to only tell me snippits of whatever she is thinking, so other than knowing she’s stressed out, I don’t know what she will decide to do. And I don’t know what I would suggest that she do – 19 is young to have a baby, especially without any significant family support or any interest from her baby daddy to be a parent. But I can’t imagine that having an abortion or carrying the baby to term and then giving it up would be easier. The whole thing is compounded by her uncertainty of how far along she is – from what she described to me it sounds like she’s in the latter part of her first trimester. Add to the some hardcore christian values, and who knows what she will decide to do.
So, here we go again!
I’m having a rough week. I will know in a few days if I am pregnant or not from round three, but if i’m honest, I think not. It’s a roller coaster of hope and frustration, and we go back to the fertility doctor on the 20th of March.
Mostly unrelated, for the past half decade or so, I’ve worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I met my first little sister when she was 14, and we built a solid relationship, so as she entered adulthood and aged out of the program, we have stayed close.
Today she told me she is pregnant, by accident, with a BF or three months, without resources or means, or planning. Because that is what young fertile people do. I am being supportive. I am being helpful. And I am dying inside.
There is a For Better or For Worse strip that basically says “fertility doesn’t come with foresight”.
I have no words.
I first tried ovulation prediction kits, or OPK, about three years ago. The ones I bought off of Amazon.ca were out of stock, so the company sent me a different version, which were more complicated to use (they required an eyedropper) and I suspect were defective, because it didn’t matter when I tested my pee, the test was always positive. Basically they were useless, so I stopped using them… and then stopped making a conscious effort to get pregnant for over a year, so they sat in the cabinet and were ignored. For the past two cycles (since starting letrozole), I’ve been relying of daily sex around the time I would likely be ovulating to cover the bases. Although initially enthusiastic, by day five or six neither my Husband nor I are over eager.
So this month I ordered another set of OPKs (from a different company), and they arrived in time to use. On day 14 I had the clearest positive result I could possibly imagine – like, textbook clearly a positive result, it could be the photo next to the ad for what the test should look like if it were positive. So I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we timed everything perfectly this month – and that my body probably did produce an egg.
I’m torn between thinking using the OPK was a good idea – it is good that we know our timing is spot on, and since we go back to the fertility doctor March 20th, if this cycle fails we have more valuable information for him. But in knowing that we have timed everything perfectly, the remainder of the month is gonna be torture waiting to find out if we have finally succeeded. April will mark a full five years since we started TTC. It would be sweet to know that we finally did by the time we hit that anniversary.
As I let my brain run away with me, the timing could not be more perfect for us: My masters should be done by July, our mortgage is locked in and doesn’t need to be renewed for another four years, we bought a place with a spare room, both my work and my Husbands are picking up and offer flexible hours, so we could likely manage childcare between the two of us without having to find and pay for daycare…
C’mon baby, it’s a great time, come and join us!
So round two failed, which… sucks, but not shocking.
As I round the corner of having completed my third bout of letrozole, I am noticing an interesting and frustrating side effect: Absentmindedness. I’m not normally particularly forgetful, and I don’t often misplace things. But in the last month, I have completely forgotten conversations and the plans that were made in them on several occasions, and left my rowing gear at the club after practice twice. Along with that, I can’t do my normal standard of multitasking, and when my Husband talks at me when I’m doing some school stuff I have no idea what he’s said or how to respond. Granted, it would be nice if he waited until he had asked for my attention before starting to talk, but that didn’t used to be an issue, so it’s hardly surprising since it’s a new problem.
I’m not really sure what to do about it, the options are basically to roll with it and accept that I’m going to be an airhead for the duration of fertility treatment, or to stop treatment and hope my brain comes back.
I’m a little nervous about being able to finish the last two courses of my masters with limited mental capacity, not to mention the social issues with friends who I miss/forget plans with – there are only so many times you can apologize before the behaviour becomes tiresome/unforgivable.
So, we shall see. Each round of medication seems to bring a slightly different set of side effects as it slowly builds up in my system. The first month I was more mellow than I have been in a long time, the second one brought irritability and the start of the brainless factor, and this round? Well, I’ve just finished the meds, but we shall see how it goes.
Soooo, It was not one of the listed side effects of letrozole, but some wandering around the internet tells me it’s not an uncommon experience: Irritability bordering on blind rage. Silly traffic issues, people looking at me sideways, minor social ineptitude and infractions… And I am having to force myself not to react in angry outbursts.
I’m not a terribly level person all of the time when i’m not on this medication, but this is a whole new level of flying off the handle. Well, I say that, but I have yet to actually do so, I’m just having to suppress a lot.
Honestly, it’s making it more of a struggle to do my job – big part of what I do requires empathy and caring about people, and when everyone and their dog is making me angry (well, no, not the dog, I love dogs…) it is much harder to be the type of professional I want to be. This is way worse than last month, so I am hoping it’s just a weird fluctuation that will change next month. But if it doesn’t that may require that I stop this treatment option.
I cry in my car a lot. More than I do anywhere else combined. There is something about the feeling of being in an isolated space by myself, that despite the fact that my windows are untinted and I’m not actually invisible, I am alone with my thoughts.
I think part of it is i’ve noticed most people in traffic are hyper self-involved and not paying attention to what is going on around them. Even if they happened to glance over and notice my tears, they won’t cause any more than a passing curiosity, a minor blip on their radar.
I prefer not to let my Husband into my daily grief/pain/darkness. He already worries about me enough, I don’t really feel the need to give him more cause.
All that being said, I broke down and let him into everything last night. I feel bad, because he looks utterly helpless when confronted with my distress. I find the active trying to conceive, the knowledge that in theory we have improved our odds with the medication, harder than not trying. I will know whether this round has been effective in about ten days. We go back to see the doctor again in March – we should have three full rounds of letrozole under our belts by the time we see him again.
On top of the infertility and stress of the medication, i’m really frustrated with my weight. I know, without stepping on the scale, that it’s up. I’m finding it hard to have the motivation to be as active as I usually am, or, for that matter, to eat well. Being unhappy with my body does not help the rest of my mental state, but at least it’s something I can hold onto and actively work on. So I’m signing up for a 5km run, adding two rowing workouts to the 2-3 I was managing over the December/January period, and limit simple carbs. I need to get this back under control, because it feels like very little else is mine to do so with.
I don’t want to track calories, that tends to mean I feel entitled to eat more to compensate for my exercise calories. I just need to find some much needed balance.